"I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life"

Father God, thank you for the love of the truth you have given me. Please bless me with the wisdom, knowledge and discernment needed to always present the truth in an attitude of grace and love. Use this blog and Northwoods Ministries for your glory. Help us all to read and to study Your Word without preconceived notions, but rather, let scripture interpret scripture in the presence of the Holy Spirit. All praise to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Please note: All my writings and comments appear in bold italics in this colour

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Five Guilty of Sheffield Child Sex Abuse Offences

(Clockwise from top left) Christopher, Shane and Matthew Whiteley, Taleb Bapir and 
Amanda Spencer were convicted at Sheffield Crown Court

Five people have been found guilty in relation to the rape and prostitution of five young girls.

Amanda Spencer, Taleb Bapir and brothers Christopher, Shane and Matthew Whiteley were convicted after a trial at Sheffield Crown Court.

Spencer plied one girl with alcohol and threatened violence in order to force her to have sex, while the Whiteley brothers prostituted a 15-year-old girl on the streets of Sheffield.

They will be sentenced on 28 April.

Castle Market, SheffieldImage copyright PA
A number of the offences took place at Castle Market in Sheffield - the market was closed in 2013

The offences took place between 2006 and 2012.

During a trial, lasting more than six weeks, jurors heard the girls were raped, abused and prostituted after meeting the Whiteley brothers and Spencer at Sheffield's former Castle Market.

Prosecutor Peter Hampton, said Christopher Whitely, 23, who was convicted of eight offences, would appear "charming" at first.

In relation to one victim, he said: "She believed that he was her friend, but over the weeks his attitude to her changed. He became aggressive and forceful. She was frightened of him."

Amanda Spencer outside Sheffield Crown Court
Amanda Spencer was jailed in 2014 after being found guilty of 16 charges relating to child prostitution

He said a second girl, who was taken to up to 50 properties and forced to have sex with men for money, painted a similar picture of Spencer.

"She was friendly at first but that soon changed. She plied [the girl] with alcohol and began to prostitute her," he said.

"On each occasion she was fearful that Amanda Spencer would be violent towards her."

Bapir, who was convicted of rape, was among the men Spencer forced the girl to have sex with.

Spencer was previously convicted of 16 charges relating to child prostitution and jailed for 12 years.

After the trial Jayne Ludlam, from Sheffield City Council, praised the "bravery" of the victims.

She said: "It sends a clear message to anyone involved in the sexual exploitation of vulnerable young people - you will be identified, pursued and prosecuted."

The convictions:

Christopher Whiteley, 23, of Weakland Crescent in Hackenthorpe, Sheffield: Found guilty of four counts of rape, one child prostitution offence, two counts of sexual assault on a child under 13 and one count of theft. Acquitted of seven counts of rape, one count of conspiracy to rape, one child prostitution offence. The jury were unable to reach verdicts on two counts of rape, one count of conspiracy to rape. He will face a retrial on one charge of rape.

Shane Whiteley, 30, also of Weakland Crescent: Found guilty of one child prostitution offence. 

Cleared of one child prostitution offence and one count of conspiracy to rape. The jury were unable to reach verdicts on one child prostitution offence and one count of conspiracy to rape. He will face a retrial on one child prostitution offence.

Matthew Whiteley, 25, also of Weakland Crescent: Convicted of one child prostitution offence. Acquitted of one child prostitution offence, one count of conspiracy to rape and one count of sexual activity with a child. The jury were unable on one count of conspiracy to rape and one count of sexual activity with a child. He will face a retrial on one count of sexual activity with a child.

Amanda Spencer, 26, of Canklow Road, Rotherham: Guilty of four child prostitution offences. Cleared of seven counts of aiding and abetting rape and eight child prostitution offences. The jury were unable to reach a verdict on one count of aiding and abetting rape.

Taleb Bapir, 39, of Verdon Street, Sheffield: Found guilty of one count of rape.

Venezuela Government 'Terrified' of Calling Election - Heading to Dictatorship

Venezuela is in a desperate with double digit inflation, food and
medicine shortages. The ruling party is so terrified of losing
power because of pervasive corruption and the fear of prosecution

Votes for governors, councils, other public offices on hold
as support for ruling party collapses
By John Otis, CBC News

The government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, seen here sitting in front of an image of late president Hugo Chavez, contends that elections are not a priority amid more pressing matters, such as food shortages and triple-digit inflation. (Miraflores Palace/Reuters)

The late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez and his allies triumphed nearly every time voters went to the ballot box. But Chavez's successor, President Nicolas Maduro, appears to have lost interest in testing the will of the people. 

Amid a severe economic crisis, opinion polls show that support for Maduro and for ruling United Socialist Party (PSUV) politicians is collapsing. In response, electoral authorities — whom analysts claim take orders from the executive branch — have over the past year shelved or delayed elections large and small. 

'We are not going to have elections....
What we are going to have here is revolution,
and more revolution.'
- Diosdado Cabello

In October, the Maduro government abruptly cancelled a recall referendum that could have removed the president from office. Gubernatorial elections scheduled for December have been postponed. Even voting for the leadership of many labour unions, professional organizations, public university governments and neighbourhood councils has been suspended. 

For Chavismo, the leftist political movement founded by Chavez and which has ruled Venezuela for the past 18 years, "elections used to be sacred when they knew they could easily win them," said Eugenio Martínez, a Caracas journalist who specializes in electoral issues. "But as soon as elections became uncomfortable, they have tried to avoid them or to change the rules." 

Venezuelan officials contend that elections are simply not a priority right now because they are dealing with more pressing matters, such as food shortages and triple-digit inflation they describe as part of an "economic war" being waged against them by the opposition.  

In a January speech, Diosdado Cabello, a congressman and a key power broker within the ruling PSUV, bluntly stated: "We are not going to have elections.... What we are going to have here is revolution, and more revolution." 

Opposition supporters hold placards that read 'Elections now' during a rally against Maduro's government, in Caracas, on January 23, 2017. (Christian Veron/Reuters)

'There is a dictatorship'

Critics call these moves troubling signs for democracy in Venezuela and wonder whether the 2018 presidential election will be free and fair — or whether it will be held at all. 

Last week, Luis Almagro, who heads the Organization of American States, said that Venezuela must hold general elections immediately, and if it doesn't, member states — including Canada — should suspend Venezuela from the Washington-based regional body.

According to Almagro, phobia of elections is just the latest sign of Maduro's turn toward authoritarianism. His government holds more than 100 political prisoners and has cracked down on the media. It controls nearly all branches of power. Although the opposition holds a majority of seats in congress, the executive branch has neutered that body by using the judicial system to nullify new legislation.   

In a column published Tuesday in the Bogota, Colombia, newspaper El Tiempo, Almagro declared: "Today… there is a dictatorship" in Venezuela. 

The electoral impasse has left opposition leaders in limbo.

'The government is terrified of measuring its popularity
through a popular vote.'
- Jose Graterol

Jose Graterol, a lawyer who is trying to run for governor of western Falcon state, has spent the past year visiting towns and villages, shaking hands and giving speeches about his vision of the future. But now, he says, it's unclear whether there will even be a vote. Sitting governors have so far ruled an three extra months beyond their normal four-year terms, and electoral authorities have yet to set a date for new elections. 

"This shows that the government is terrified of measuring its popularity through a popular vote," Graterol said. 

The PSUV currently controls 20 of 23 state houses. But polls indicate that if elections were held now, the opposition could win about 16 governorships, marking a huge shift in power. In the last nationwide elections, held in December 2015, the government suffered a humiliating defeat, with opposition candidates winning 112 of 167 congressional seats. And since then, both the economy and support for the government have eroded further. 

"The government controls nearly all levers of power while the opposition has the support of the voters," said Phil Gunson, a Caracas analyst for the International Crisis Group. "That's why the opposition needs to have elections and why the government doesn't." 

December 2018 election uncertain

Besides delays, the Maduro government is trying to weed out the competition in case of future elections, said Martínez, the journalist. For example, the National Electoral Council declared that all political parties must gather thousands of member signatures in order to maintain their legal status, but each party gets just two days to carry out this process. 

When a centrist party called Avanzada Progresista recently tried to sign up members in Caracas, the electoral council changed the location of the registration sites at the last minute, creating chaos, said party activist Maribel Castillo. Avanzada Progresista maintained its legal status but several small opposition parties have already lost theirs. 

An opposition supporter holds a placard that reads 'Wanted for destroying a country. Reward: A free Venezuela,' with images depicting Maduro, left, and Diosdado Cabello, of Venezuela's United Socialist Party (PSUV), during a rally in Caracas, September 1, 2016. (Marco Bello/Reuters)

In recent elections, opposition parties fielded candidates through a coalition known as the Democratic Unity Roundtable. But now the Supreme Court is hearing a lawsuit brought by a ruling party politician alleging that the coalition committed fraud. A guilty verdict would effectively outlaw the opposition coalition.  

All of this manoeuvring has many Venezuelans wondering whether the government intends to comply with the constitution by holding presidential elections by December 2018. Gunson said that cancelling the vote would be a major step toward pariah status, as the Maduro government would be widely be considered a de facto regime propped up only by the military. 

However, Martínez said many high-ranking government officials have been accused of drug trafficking, human rights abuses and corruption, and they fear prison or extradition to the United States should the opposition win the presidency. 

He predicted: "If Chavismo doesn't think it has a way to win the elections, it will not hold elections." 

Friday, March 24, 2017

Ontario Premier Wynne's Approval Rating an Astonishing 12%

Hydro rates shock Ontario Premier
Kathleen Wynne’s approval rating
OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne has seen a historic slump in her job-approval ratings as Ontarians continue to fret over increased hydro bills and the sale of the Hydro One utility, says new polling by the Angus Reid Institute released Friday.

With a 2018 election looming, the provincial Liberal Premier has the endorsement of only 12 per cent of voters, down from a 41-per-cent approval rating just 18 months ago, the Angus Reid Institute survey revealed.

It was 18 months ago that Wynne brought her far-left ideology into schools in Ontario. Her sex education program, probably written in part by her then Deputy Education Minister who is now in prison for child pornography. The program focused on LGBTQ2S rights and projecting homosexuality and transgenderism as normal and healthy, and ignored the real problem of child sex abuse.

That her slide in popularity began then was not reported by MSM outlets, nor was there any mention of the school sex education program. It is not an issue for MSM as they all agree with the far-left agenda. 

The institute’s executive director, Shachi Kurl, said Ms. Wynne has sunk to depths almost never seen among provincial premiers in recent history, with only former British Columbia premier Gordon Campbell dropping below 10 per cent before he resigned in November, 2010.

“There is no way to sugar-coat this, it’s not a good situation for the Premier,” Ms. Kurl said. “But clearly, based on what we’re seeing and hearing, there may be some continuing belief that the Premier herself, or the party can turn things around” before an election that is scheduled for June, 2018.

In surveying premiers’ approval ratings, the Angus Reid Institute polled 5,404 Canadians, including 804 Ontario residents. The survey was conducted between March 6 and March 13, just after Ms. Wynne’s government announced it would reduce hydro rates by an average of 25 per cent for households, and more for people in rural areas and small towns that were hardest hit by rate hikes over the past decade.

“I would suggest people really hadn’t had the opportunity to absorb whether or not they feel this is something that will credibly give them some relief, and whether or not it is enough at this stage,” Ms. Kurl said.

“You can reach a point with the electorate where a level of cynicism or a level of hardening sets in and no matter what is done, there’s no turning things around.”

Most premiers saw a decline in their approval ratings this month compared with last December.

Saskatchewan’s Brad Wall – who continues to rank as the country’s most popular premier – saw his support drop to 52 per cent from a recent high of 66 per cent last May. British Columbia’s Christy Clark – who faces an election in May – had an approval rating of just 31 per cent, down 4 percentage points from December amid revelations of her Liberal Party’s controversial fundraising tactics.

But none are even approaching Ms. Wynne’s 12 per cent. And Ms. Kurl suggests voters’ anger over soaring hydro rates is a big factor. Average residential rates have doubled in the past decade, and risen ever further in less-densely-populated and remote regions.

Three-quarters of Ontario respondents (74 per cent) describe their household energy bills as “unreasonable” and a similar number expect the Hydro One sale to increase their rates even further. (Hydro One is the province’s main transmission utility that also directly serves households in rural Ontario.)

Indeed, 27 per cent of respondents identified “energy/electricity” as the largest problem facing the province, with “the economy” a distant second at 16 per cent. And more than three-quarters of respondents said their household electricity bills and the sale of Hydro One would be important or somewhat important issues for them when they vote in the 2018 provincial election.

However, 62 per cent said they would factor in the Wynne government’s plan to reduce hydro bills when they go to the polls in the general election.

Lawyer in Russian Whistleblowing Case Badly Injured in 4-Story Fall

Oligarchs still in control in Russia
By Ed Adamczyk  

The lawyer for the family of Russian whistleblower Sergei Magnitsky was seriously injured in a four-story fall, officials said. Magnitsky died in police custody in 2009. Photo by Voice of America

(UPI) -- The lawyer for the family of Russian whistleblower Sergei Magnitsky was seriously injured in a four-story fall, officials said.

Russia media reported that Nikolai Gorokhov fell when a rope broke as he and several others were attempting to lift a bathtub into his home near Moscow on Tuesday, the BBC reported.

Amazing coincidence

The incident occurred a day before Gorokhov as scheduled to appear in a Moscow appeals court in connection with the Magnitsky case. Magnitsky died in prison in 2009; his family said he was jailed, tortured and denied medical treatment as retribution for accusing law enforcement and tax officials of stealing $230 million in state funds. His death prompted a 2012 law in the United States, allowing sanctions against abusers of human rights in Russia.

Bill Browder, a British businessman and co-founder of investment firm Hermitage Capital Management, who has worked with Gorokhov, said in a statement Tuesday that Gorokhov was "thrown from the fourth floor of his apartment building," without identifying a source for his allegation.

A medical source said Gorokhov sustained serious injuries and was flown by helicopter to a hospital, the BBC added.

It's a wonder he wasn't thrown out of the helicopter.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Far-Left Liberals End Freedom of Speech - Make Criticism of Islam Hate Speech

Canada's far-left Liberal government has rammed through a bill declaring 'Islamophobia' to be hate-speech, but not defining the word. Some believe that this is the beginning of creeping Sharia.

House of Commons passes anti-Islamophobia motion M-103
By Staff The Canadian Press

OTTAWA – The House of Commons has passed a Liberal back-bencher’s motion calling on federal politicians to condemn Islamophobia.

The motion, known as M-103, became a matter of acrimonious debate, with opponents painting it as a slippery slope towards limiting freedom of speech and even bringing in Sharia law.

Liberals and Conservatives accused one another of playing politics with the rising tide of prejudice and hate crimes facing Canadian Muslims.

MPs adopted the motion by a margin of 201-91.

Liberal MP Iqra Khalid, who sponsored the motion, was applauded loudly by her Liberal fellows as she stood to vote.

The issue even became a bone of contention among Conservative leadership hopefuls.

Canada’s parliament has approved M-103, a non-biding motion that calls on the government to “condemn Islamophobia and all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination,” by a margin of 201-91.

The contentious motion, which sparked nationwide demonstrations and protests by both supporters and opponents in early March, also calls on the government to take steps to “quell the increasing public climate of hate and fear.”

Mainstream media (MSM) thinks this is good thing. Like the Liberal Party under Justin Trudeau, they lean further to the left than they realize. This passionate ex-Muslim tried to warn Canadians that they were on the road to Sharia. I'm not aware of any MSM outlets playing any part of this video.

Warning: Language becomes quite vulgar after about 3:30

Video 6:39 

UN Human Rights Council's Antisemitic Abuse Silenced

Hillel Neuer just silenced the room with this booming speech

Hillel Neuer of UN Watch just destroyed all those Muslim countries who claim Israel is an apartheid state. Bringing the facts, he silences the entire room.

How can Syria, Saudi Arabia, and other human rights abusing countries say Israel is an apartheid state? How does the UN allow this? Countries which kill their own people are speaking out against the ONE DEMOCRACY in the Middle East. Doesn’t that sound twisted?

Israel has 1.5 million Arabs living a life with full rights, being doctors and lawyers, being part of the knesset, and yet the countries speaking out against Israel have persecuted and expelled whatever Jews used to be living there. As Neuer calls them out, he says “Where are your Jews?” He asks where the REAL apartheid is.

Surely it is time for the UNHRC to stop the hate-speech. It makes absurd the name of 'Human Rights'. 

Yemenis ‘Pay the Price’ for UK and America’s ‘Brazenly Hypocritical’ Arms Deals – Amnesty

I've been saying this for awhile. It is just disgraceful! Arms sales are easy and cheap but the USA and the UK need to find a way to keep their economies moving other than selling death and destruction. 

© Naif Rahma / Reuters

Amnesty International has condemned the US and Britain for supplying arms to Saudi Arabia, arms which have then been used to kill hundreds of civilians in Yemen.

Figures from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute show that the two countries have sent weaponry worth more than $5 billion to Saudi Arabia since Riyadh’s intervention began in March 2015. This is over 10 times the approximately $450 million that the US State Department and the UK’s Department for International Development have sent (or planned to send) in humanitarian aid to Yemen over the same period, which Amnesty has described as a “shameful contradiction.”

“Two years of conflict have forced 3 million people to flee their homes, shattered the lives of thousands of civilians and left Yemen facing a humanitarian disaster with more than 18 million in desperate need of assistance. Yet despite the millions of dollars’ worth of international assistance allocated to the country, many states have contributed to the suffering of the Yemeni people by continuing to supply billions of dollars’ worth of arms,” said Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty's deputy director of research for the Middle East and North Africa.

“Weapons supplied in the past by states such as the UK and US have been used to commit gross violations and helped to precipitate a humanitarian catastrophe. These governments have continued to authorize such arms transfers at the same time as providing aid to alleviate the very crisis they have helped to create. Yemeni civilians continue to pay the price of these brazenly hypocritical arms supplies.”

Amnesty accuses the UK and US, both of whom are party to the 2014 Arms Trade Treaty, of “undermining the spirit” of the treaty, and has called on the international community to “immediately to impose an arms embargo” on all parties involved in the Yemeni conflict.

In March 2015, Saudi Arabia and its Gulf State allies, including Qatar and Bahrain, launched an aerial campaign to help prop up the ousted government of Sunni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi against Shiite Houthi rebels. According to UN estimates, up to 10,000 people have been killed in the fighting so far, including 4,000 civilians. The majority of civilian deaths, according to the UN, have come from Saudi-led airstrikes.

In its investigation of the Yemeni conflict, Amnesty International has documented at least 34 coalition airstrikes that may have violated international law resulting in at least 494 civilian deaths, 148 of which were children. Amnesty also accused Saudi Arabia of using cluster bombs, which are banned under international law.

In November, the British government refused to stop selling arms to Saudi Arabia, rejecting calls from two parliamentary committees and human rights groups. According to Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT), Britain licensed £3.3 billion (US$4.1 billion) of arms sales to Riyadh during the first 12 months of the Yemen war.

During Barack Obama’s two terms as president, the US offered Saudi Arabia $115 billion worth of arms in 42 separate deals, the Center for International Policy, a US-based anti-war think tank, reported in September. It estimated that US arms offers to Saudi Arabia were more than any US administration in the history of the US-Saudi relationship. But in December, the White House blocked the transfer of some weaponry to Saudi Arabia over concerns about the civilian death toll from the bombing campaign in Yemen. Arms exports to Saudi Arabia have resumed under Donald Trump’s administration.